Study Tool: Chronological Events of the 1877-1887 Era – With Keywords List to Help You



Presidential Election/Event

Beyond America/ Foreign Policy

Government Institutions

US Land Expansion

US Economic Development

Issue/Organization Development

Political Party Development






Standard Oil – John D. Rockefeller (List)









Workers (List): Knights of Labor starts







Carnegie Steel – Andrew Carnegie







1st barbed wire

Thomas Alva Edison – Menlo Park




Rutherford B. Hayes (Ohio Gov.) v. Sam Tilden (NY Gov.)










Decision – Compromise of 1877


Alexander Graham Bell – telephone

Patent: phonograph


“New South” – Redeemers, Readjusters ß




Supreme Court: Munn v. Illinois -Granger law upheld [1]

Desert Land Act[2]

Railroad Strike – PA, MD, West Va, Ohio







Timber and Stone Act[3]

Patent: typewriter








Patent: cash register

Workers: Knights of Labor – new leader [4]



James A. Garfield v. Winfield Scott Hancock




1880s Trends, Railroad (List)




Garfield shot








Chester A. Arthur, President










Pendleton Act[5]










Brooklyn Bridge








Knights of Labor – wins strike Jay Gould’s Railroad




James G. Blaine (Rep.) v. Grover Cleveland (NY)










Supreme Court: Wabash case- Granger law rejected [6]


George Westinghouse – transformer, AC power

Workers: American Federation of Labor (AFL) –






Apache – Geronimo – exiled









Haymarket Square Massacre – Be sure you notice the keyword explaining this event, including the word used here massacre.







Dawes Severalty Act[7]







Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) (List)






Keywords List on Railroad Trends:

Rebate – Caution: this is not the word as we use it today.


short haul

long haul


Keywords List on ICC:

Commission form

rebate  Caution: this is not the word as we use it today.


federal regulatory agency


Keywords List on Standard Oil and Emergence of Trusts:

Rebate  and “drawback” Caution: these words meant something different in the Gilded Age than we mean today, and Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary cannot help you. These words do however usually get students to realize how monopoly happened in this period. They are not test questions, but, if you want to know, just ask


monopoly of oil at 90%

trust – What does that have to do with the law? Who grants the legal power of being a corporation to a corporation?

holding company


Keywords on Workers:

immigration – who, where from, where to, how

unions – What does the word mean? What is the difference in AFL and Knights of Labor?  – See the link in Resources


notice skilled workers and what is happening to them

notice child labor – What does the word mean?

notice workers the West (the mines, cattle ranching)

notice workers in the South (lumber workers, mill workers, tobacco workers)


Keywords on Farmers in the West:

Mortgages (debt) and rate of interest

kind of equipment

water (irrigation and dry land farming)


Keywords on Farmers in the South:


tenant framing

debt and rate of interest


Key words on Blacks and Minorities:

1879 Blacks: Exodusters

1881 Blacks: Tuskegee Institute – Alabama – Booker T. Washington


1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

1883 Civil Rights Cases – not on individual actions

1896 Plessy v. Ferguson


Keywords on Intellectual Trends:

1879 Progress and Poverty – Henry George – “single tax”

1880s Social Darwinism- William Graham Sumner, Andrew Carnegie

1881 A Century of Dishonor – Helen Hunt Jackson

1883 Dynamic Sociology – Lester Frank Ward

1888 Looking Backward – Edward Bellamy

1890s Social Gospel


Keywords on Literary Trends:

Horatio Alger stories

Mark Twain


Keywords on Education (What is graduate school? Why would a nation need it?:

1876 John Hopkins University, Baltimore

1890 University of Chicago

1891 Stanford University


Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2017


WCJC Department:

History – Dr. Bibus

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[1] Grangers are another name for Patrons of Husbandry, and Granger Laws are laws that group supported. These laws are first talked about in the prior chapter.

[2] Cattle ranchers want – Law to acquire 640 acres for a small amount initially (25 cents an acre initially) and then, after claiming they had irrigated for another small amount ($1.00)

[3] Lumber companies want – Law to acquire 160 acres for a small amount ($2.50) in “false entries to gain title to valuable timber holdings.”

[4] New leader, Terence V. Powderly; title, “grand master workman” – This is 1 of the 2 major unions of the era. The other is the American Federation of Labor.

[5] Notice the Garfield assassination and this law. The legislation is also talked about as the merit system and sometimes as Civil Service.

[6] Full name: Wabash, St. Louis, and Pacific Railway v. Illinois

[7] The word severalty means to own property individually. Native Americans owned land as a tribe.